Speakers at Sheffield 2005

Fourth UK Tick Borne Diseases Conference
17th – 18th June 2005
Halifax Hall, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.

Dr. Joseph Jemsek MD FACP

Dr. Jemsek is the leading provider for HIV care in the Carolinas and the leading Lyme care provider in the states. Dr. Jemsek’s Clinic sees more new patients for Lyme Disease than any other facility in the country. He has the evolving top center for Lyme care in the country. His commitments to investing research/basic clinical science to Lyme are unparalleled. In 1998, he received the top honor in the state of North Carolina from its governor for his commitment to HIV patients.

Dr Jemsek completed his medical training at the University of Illinois, Medical Center at Chicago. He continued his medical experience at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC and undertook his postgraduate fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. His great interest in the clinical aspects of infectious disease has led him to become a member of many professional societies in this field. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the Infectious Disease Society of America. Dr. Jemsek has been greatly involved in the treatment of patients with HIV and he is a member of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS care. More recently he became involved in the care of patients with Lyme Disease and he is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). We are particularly pleased again this year to be able to welcome one of the members of the ILADS Society which is so supportive to our patients.

For a large part of his medical career Dr. Jemsek has been involved as a clinician in the fields of internal medicine, infectious disease and epidemiology. His clinical work has involved advising upon infectious disease for cardiac transplant patients, advising on antibiotics and their use, teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and becoming involved in clinical research associated with these fields. Dr. Jemsek has authored many published papers in the field of treatment of HIV patients and other microbiological topics related to the treatment of infection and antibiotic prophylaxis.

Dr. David C. Owen

Dr. Owen qualified as a doctor at the University of Wales in 1984. His post-graduate career has included appointments in Accident and Emergency medicine, hospital medicine and General Practice. Dr. Owen has on-going experience in the treatment of patients in an Accident and Emergency setting: for example, the surgical management of wounds, orthopaedic management of acute injuries including manipulations and the management of acute medical problems. Dr. Owen is legally qualified and has special experience in the preparation of reports for medico-legal purposes addressing issues such as fitness for work and medical negligence and has attended court as a medical expert.

In the last two years Dr. Owen has developed a special interest in tick-borne diseases. Dr. Owen is a member of ILADS (International Association of Lyme and Associated Diseases). Dr. Owen attended the ILADS and Lyme Disease Association of America Conferences in Philadelphia in 2003. Dr. Owen chaired the Third UK Conference on Lyme Disease in York, UK also held in 2004 and will chair the Fourth Conference in Sheffield this year.

Dr. Beata Wodecka

Dr. Wodecka studied microbiology at the University of Szczecin, Poland where she gained her PhD in 2002. Poland is a country where pathogenic Borreliosis is endemic. Dr. Wodecka’s work has been concentrated upon the topic of the Borrelia family of bacteria and their biology. Her published papers upon this subject include (with co-authors), papers on the ‘First isolation of Borrelia lusitaniae DNA from Ixodes ricinus ticks in Poland’, ‘Detection of DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in Ixodes ricinus ticks in north-western Poland’ and identifying Lyme borreliosis in dogs from western Poland. She also has experience of isolating some of the agents of co-infection in work demonstrating molecular evidence of co-infection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis Agent, and Babesia microti in ticks from north-western Poland. In Sheffield, Dr. Wodecka will speak about Flagellin gene (flaB) as RFLP marker for the identification of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies isolated from the blood of patients suspected of having Borreliosis.

‘The diagnostics of Lyme borreliosis are difficult because of the unspecific manifestations and the diversity of the etiological agents – pathogenic members of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. Successful detection of mentioned spirochaetes depends on the disease stage and studied material. The most frequently used diagnostic tests are based on detecting of antibodies against B. burgdorferi sensu lato and rarely on detecting of bacterial DNA. Since both methods are imperfect the aim of the present study was to correlate the results of detecting of bacterial DNA with serological study during the course of Lyme disease and identify of B. burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies causing a variety of clinical manifestations.’ Details of the results of this work will be given.

Dr. Bela Bozsik MD

Dr. Bozsik is a retired physician with many years experience in microscopy and serological investigations. He was Head of the laboratory of Serology in the Johan Bela National Institute of Hygiene in Budapest in 1980 until his retirement in 1999. The complement system and serology in syphilis diagnosis were his original scientific fields. He has performed some work with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. After his retirement he continued working upon the diagnosis of Lyme disease and continued to see patients. The first Lyme clinic in Hungary was set up according to his proposals and it has been running since 2002. Now he is working to set up the First Lyme Centre adjoining to or near the main hospital in Budapest. He is the author (in Hungarian) of ‘Rules of Ticks’ 1995, ‘Advice on Tick Diseases’ 1997 and ‘Advice for the treated patient’ 2002. Dr. Bozsik has developed a particular reagent and method concerned with the diagnosis of Lyme disease which he will tell us about. He founded the Lyme Borreliosis Foundation in Hungary and is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Amongst his other achievements are the proposition of a diagnostic and therapeutic scheme for those with Lyme borreliosis ( seronegative). Dr. Bozsik lives in Budapest, Hungary with his wife and three children.

Dr. Katarzyna Gustaw MD PhD

Dr Gustaw is a graduate of the Medical Academy of Lublin in Poland where she studied medicine and neurology. She has also undertaken further studies in neurology and clinical pharmacology at the University of Brussels and holds a doctorate in Neuropharmacology from the Medical Academy of Lublin. Two further fellowships in topics related to Neurology have taken her to continue her studies at the University of Tel Aviv and shortly after that to the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In recent years, Dr. Gustaw has followed her particular interest in neurodegenerative diseases and Alzheimers disease. Dr. Gustaw has many publications to her name. Of particular interest to our meeting is her involvement with Borreliosis studies. Her studies in this field include (with co-authors), ‘Neurological and psychological symptoms after severe, acute neuroborreliosis’, ‘Dysarthria as the isolated clinical symptom of borreliosis – a case report’ and she was the sole author of a study into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome following tick-borne disease. In 2000 she undertook a project for the Polish Research Council upon Neurological, neuropsychological and immunological aspects of neuroborreliosis and Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE). However, she also has many other published papers in neurology and neurodegenerative disease to her credit. Dr. Gustaw is currently Assistant Professor and lecturer at the Univeristy of Lublin specialising in speech defects and applied linguistics. She is also appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurodegenerative Disorders at the Institute of Agricultural Medicine where she sees patients with Alzheimers Disease. She also undertakes to advise the Alzheimers Association of Poland.

Dr. Milton Wainwright

Dr. Wainwright is a senior lecturer in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Sheffield, UK. Dr. Wainwright’s laboratory has a special interest in novel aspects of microbial growth and metabolism. Amongst the particular areas of study is the study of microbial oligotrophy, that is, the growth of bacteria and fungi under extremely low nutrient conditions. This field is related to the occurrence of pleomorphism amongst bacterial species and may be of particular relevance to the biology of species linked to clinical Lyme disease. Dr. Wainwright is also interested in historical and more recent studies linking micro-organisms (notably highly pleomorphic bacteria) with other medical conditions such as cancer. More recently he has also become interested in ME/CFS and has undertaken some preliminary studies for Lyme Disease Action.

Dr. Andrew Wright

Dr. Wright qualified as a doctor in 1983 and subsequently trained as a General Practitioner. He still works part-time in NHS General Practice and until recently as a Hospital Practitioner in Genito-Urinary/HIV medicine, General Medicine and Gastroenterology, and Dermatology. He also runs an Integrative Medicine Practice in Bolton, Lancashire, UK. The practice combines allopathic and alternative therapies with a large amount of nutritional medicine. Dr. Wright includes giving medical advice to the UK Lyme and Borreliosis charity ‘Lyme Disease Action’ and also to ‘Action for ME’ the UK’s largest ME/CFS charity, within his sphere of activity. He was also a member of the Chief Medical Officer’s Working Group in England on ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndromes/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis’ (CFS/ME).

The research Dr. Wright has been involved in has included working with Dr. V. Pentreath at the University of Salford looking at the measurement of gram-negative endotoxins in the blood of ME/CFS patients (a group of patients within FSD/Fatigue Spectrum Disorders). Dr. Wright is also working with Dr. Roz Anderson, Principal Lecturer at the University of Sunderland in the Department of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science/Autism Research Unit, looking at the prevalence of toxic tryptophan metabolites in the urine of patients and controls. Dr. Wright has noted for some time that more patients than would be expected carry unusual bacterial isolates and has worked on this phenomenon with Dr. Wainwright amongst others. Dr. Wright is currently involved in novel microscopical studies of Fatigue Spectrum Disorder patients (including ME/CFS) patients and controls. He will also collaborate in the new studies to be undertaken this year with Professor Smith.

Professor Colin Smith

Professor Smith is professor of microbiology and functional genomics at the University of Surrey. He works within the Microbial Sciences Group and the approach within the group is to use the state of the art facilities there, which are amongst the best in the world, to design new vaccines, identify new targets for chemotherapy and develop new diagnostics. During this year, he will be collaborating with Dr. Wright to develop a series of multiarray PCR assays to help determine what role Borrelia and other bacteria may play in the pathophysiology of CFS/ME and related conditions.

Unfortunately, at the last minute, Professor Colin Smith was unable to attend the conference. His presentation was given by Dr Andrew Wright.

Dr. Vance Spence

Dr. Vance Spence was Principal Clinical Scientist responsible for the Vascular Diseases Clinical and Research Unit at Ninewells Hospital, University of Dundee Medical School, Dundee, Scotland until his retirement with ME. He is currently chairman and co-founder of the ME Research group for Education and support (MERGE www.meresearch.org.uk) and Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Cardiovascular Research, University of Dundee Medical School. Dr. Spence is one of the principal investigators of ME/CFS research in the vascular diseases research unit looking at ME/CFS as a pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidant condition. His recent publications (with co-authors) in these areas include two new studies (in press) on ‘Oxidative stress levels are raised in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and are associated with clinical symptoms’ and ‘Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a hypercoaguable state associated with platelet activation?’. He has also been closely involved in studies into ‘Acetylcholine mediated vasodilation in the microcirculation of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ and ‘Increased Neutrophil Apoptosis in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.’ It is especially this latter topic we shall hear more about today. Dr. Spence is also a well-known commentator upon the various different fields of research that affect CFS/ME patients and patients with similar conditions.

Dr. Marie Kroun MD

Dr. Kroun has gained broad clinical experience working as an MD in many Danish hospitals in Western Denmark. She has also held positions in many specialities including eight years experience in paediatrics and 2 to 3 years in general medicine plus experience in surgery and pathology departments. Dr. Kroun stopped working in the hospital setting in 1999 owing to ill-health retirement. In 1988 – 91, while working in the Paediatric Department at Odense University Hospital, Denmark, Dr. Kroun saw her first few cases of Lyme Borreliosis in children. In 1994 she saw several more cases of Lyme Borreliosis that did not follow the rules outlined by standard works of the time. These cases were not actually selected to show discrepancies, but was in fact all the children diagnosed and treated in the hospital during 1994-1995. These cases and others have triggered her special interest in Lyme Borreliosis. Dr. Kroun decided to follow all children diagnosed with Lyme in the outpatient clinic for at least a year after the end of their treatment in order to learn more about the illness. Dr. Kroun started the LymeRICK website also in order to exchange scientifically published information with other physicians. Dr. Kroun has recorded many clinical findings about a large series of Danish patients. Dr. Kroun has made many presentations to our organisation in previous years. This year she will demonstrate abnormal findings when patient’s blood is under the microscope.